BY SILAS NKALA

ILLEGAL farming activities have been blamed for blocking Bulawayo’s sewage system resulting in regular pipe bursts, a council report has revealed.

According to latest council minutes, several councillors expressed concern over illegal farming activities along streambanks with some residents damaging sewage
pipes.

Councillor Rodney Jele said cultivation in prohibited areas such as streambanks, roadsides and at intersections had reached alarming levels.

“Was there any public awareness being conducted?” Jele questioned at the same time proposing that relevant by-laws be enforced.

Councillor Sinikiwe Mutanda said illegal cultivation resulted in sewer and stream blockages.

“Residents are throwing rubble from their fields into the streams,” she said.

“Council by-laws have to be effected and offenders prosecuted.

“Slashing of the crops is, therefore, necessary. Marking of prohibited areas must be done.

“Public awareness meetings were not possible because of the COVID-19 regulations,” read the minutes in part.

“Awareness campaigns had not been conducted and councillors were of the view to revive those,” read the minutes.

The councillors were encouraged to engage residents with regards to streambank cultivation.

Previously, council used to slash crops at almost maturity level, but due to drought and food shortages, the previous council had adopted a resolution that the crops should not be slashed on humanitarian grounds and that resolution is still
effective.

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